Weather you just bought a house or decided to renovate your old one, or even if you just want to upgrade a few rooms in your house, the very first thing you need is a good renovation plan to avoid being overwhelmed by big and little details. I’m no expert, but according to my experience, following these steps will be helpful
1) WRITE DOWN YOUR FAMILY NEEDS
It’s the same as looking for a house to buy: list down everything you want and then start taking off the things you can really give up, until only the relevant ones remain.
Do you need a second bathroom because you’re a big family or you have teen agers? Are you planning a bigger kitchen ’cause you like cooking and having friends coming over? You or your significant other work from home and need an extra room to transform in your studio?
Having a blank canvas to transform according to our needs and desires would be great, but not all people can afford it, that’s why we must start with a good plan.
In our case we needed to completely makeover the kitchen and one of the bathrooms, because they were stuck in the 60’s and weren’t functional at all. We decided to give up the guest room to have a bigger living room, and arranged a big sofa bed with chase-longue in case friends stay the night.
2) PLAN INVESTMENT PIECES
If you don’t have a huge budget to spend in renovation and furniture, decide in which designer/expensive pieces and house features you want to invest the most. What is it that you can’t give up by no means? For instance, we decided to invest in the flooring (oak wooden planks and tiles), in the kitchen counter and a few furniture design items.
Many friends told us that we could have saved money if we had bought ceramic tiles looking like wood, but I never considered it an option because I knew from the start that I wanted to walk on natural wood floors and have a modern scandinavian look in my house.
3) CHOOSE A COLOR PALETTE
Once you decide what you want in your house, it’s time to start thinking which color palette to use. A mistake that most people do is to consider each room separately and therefore use a different color or style in each room. In my opinion the house is a whole, it’s like a “living being” where everything must be coordinated, and it must be clear that it’s the same “living being” everywhere.
You can select 2 or 3 colors, a general style and then distribute them in the whole house. I chose natural nuances as white and oak wood to combine with black and 2 tones of dark grey, my idea of style was the scandinavian look with a touch of japanese taste and a bit of american modernism. My palette was really soft and dark, so to brighten it up I added colored accessories through the whole space.
You don’t have to make inspiration boards as professional do, don’t worry there’s no need to learn how to use photoshop, you can take inspiration literally from everywhere: blogs, magazines, pictures in the net, places you visit, friends and family’s houses, designer stores, ikea, and so on. My best sources of inspiration have been design blogs and pinterest.
Just collect every picture you like in any means you want (it can be magazine paper cuts, pictures, sketches, brochures) and after you have enough material, start selecting the ones that appeal to you the most, discard the others and step by step you will have your own “inspiration board” to use in your own house.
4) PLAN AN EXTRA
This was the first piece of advice I got from almost everyone who went through renovation before me. In every kind of renovation there’s always some problem that come up from nowhere and will add to your budget, so you must carefully plan it beforehand, you don’t want to find yourself struggling because you’ve got no money left but the bathroom need extra works and you can’t go on if you don’t fix it.
I have to say we failed this one, we planned a 5% extra of the whole amount, but in the end it was almost 8-9%. Unfortunately, when renovating a very old house, all kind of extra works can come out (and will come out no matter what), we even had to move 3 windows otherwise we wouldn’t have had enough space to mount mosquito net!
5) GET THE HELP OF A PROFESSIONAL
As I said in one of the previous posts, we didn’t hire an architect, not only because I had my ideas very clear my mind but also because we couldn’t afford it. Yet, even if you decide to go through the same path, you will always need the help of a surveyor, someone who knows the laws, who knows all the technical stuff and who can keep an eye on the workers. It’s really helpful especially if it’s your first time doing renovation, as it was for me.